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Schwa

CGC,

I wasn't trying to be snide w/ my "Go with an open mind and have fun" post.

The food is unusual and pushes the envelope so some people may not like it as much as others- thus the need to have an open wine. Service is done by the chefs and sometimes a bit fast since they are literally juggling many pots at once!

Schwa is about the food and the enjoyment of it. If you are a group who likes to dress up, do it. If you prefer to wear jeans and sneakers, I am 100% sure they won't care at all. If it is important to bring your own wine glasses, then by all means, bring 'em. If you have any food/dietary restrictions you may want to tell them when they call to confirm (usually the day of or the day before, I don't remember.)

Give yourself an extra few minutes to park since you need to find a spot on the street.

Mar 05, 2008
Chico in Chicago Area

Another great Chicago visit (Joe’s, Giordano’s, Nomi, RL Grill)

Thanks for the report- I agree with you on Joe's, always my favorite steak in town!

Feb 12, 2008
Chico in Chicago Area

Joe's Seafood, Prime Steaks, and Stone Crab

I agree wholeheartedly with the above posters. Having been to Joe's twice in the last few months, and most recently last week, I can say it is definitely one of my favorite places in town but it is not cheap. Last week we had fresh Alaskan King Crab Legs which were amazing and beat out the stone crabs in a head to head taste. Also had the "special" dry aged sirloin which was perfectly cooked a shade under medium rare and was nicely charred. Service is always great.

All this does come at a price, over $200/ couple but I feel it is worth it as it is as close to perfection I have experienced at a non-fine dining restaurant in Chicago. I don't think that Gibsons or Primehouse ever compare.

Dec 10, 2007
Chico in Chicago Area

Orlando Steak Recap- Vitos Chophouse & Ruth's Chris

Agreed that Del Friscos was a great steak in Orlando- really quite perfect. Sadly was just too far of a haul for this trip!

Oct 24, 2007
Chico in Florida

Orlando Steak Recap- Vitos Chophouse & Ruth's Chris

Folks,

Just came back from a golf weekend in the Grande Lakes area. Wanted to try some local fare so went to Vitos on Friday. We were very dissapointed.

1) For a serious steakhouse as the like to think they are (with the display of meats to show it) their meat quality was lacking. All of the cuts, except for the Ribeye, were choice.

2) Service was poor, server was a robot with no sense of humor and zero personality. Didn't really "get it" either.

Porterhouse was average, as was the caesar salad and shrimp remolade. Martini was even worse. Creamed spinach was pretty good. It did not bode well that this place was empty on a Friday night. Good riddance I say. Very glad that I didn't try Charley's- their lower priced chain. I could not imagine how tasteless their beef would be!

Ruth Chris was much better. I usually don't like to frequent chains, but prefer RC over Capital Grille and Mortons, which were the other choices. They sat us in the back but were very nice moving us to the bar room shortly thereafter so we could watch the games. I have never loved the sides at RC but the steak was spot on as ordered. They still serve prime beef and cooked it properly. I couldn't care about the sizzling platter, but I enjoy the char they put on their steaks and their precision.

For a very similar meal, RC was 40% more expensive and definitely worth it.

Happy eating!

chico

Oct 23, 2007
Chico in Florida

Chicken Wings in Chicago

I have not been able to find any good wings south of Buffalo Joes. Have tried Yakzies twice and have been sorely dissapointed. Made the trip to Buff Joes and was in heaven.

chico

Aug 02, 2007
Chico in Chicago Area

alinea, moto - reservations / chi lunch questions?

I'll bite. What do you think is the best experience at Moto? I am a recent transplant to chicago and it is the next on my list. We did the 12 course at Alinea and that was great- I'm certain we will go back so I didn't feel the 24 was necessary.

However, I would like your opinion on if the GTM is the best choice for the best moto experience.

Thank you!

chico

Jul 18, 2007
Chico in Chicago Area

Smoque & Chicago BBQ

I went with the St. Louis Spare-Ribs, which I feel is the best benchmark. (Usually I will ask the pitmaster which ribs he prefers that day, since as you know, meat supplies vary) but this question at Smoque yielded a definition of the ribs, not an recommendation!

Jul 10, 2007
Chico in Chicago Area

Smoque & Chicago BBQ

Finally made it there for some takeout this weekend. I am a rib man so that's what I focus on. I had a rack of spare ribs and some sides not worth mentioning. (Ok, coleslaw, fries, and mac'n'cheese.)

These are the type of Ribs I like- smoked and dry rubbed. I feel sauce is for sissies or bad BBQ. However, these ribs while properly conceived, were just not up to snuff. The experienced execution was lacking. The ribs were actually quite bland- I sprinkled some of my own rub on them at home. They were also a bit stringy which indicated to me that they were not cooked as well as the could be.

Having concluded my tour of local BBQ spots (well, still need to pop-in the WF up on Peterson) I think that Honey1 could be my favorite. Heckys used to be my champ but it simply doesn't hold up w/o the awesome sauce. Honey1- while it falls into my "ghetto" bbq category- is still tasty w/ the sauce on the side and feels more authentic than Smoque.

Hot links are tasty too. I'll be back there soon.

Thanks for all the great recommendations.

chico

Jul 09, 2007
Chico in Chicago Area

Dinner before Police concert at Wrigley 7/6

Mia Francesa on Clark is ok for a bowl of pasta or a salad. it is just a block north of belmont. El Jardin is a place to get loaded on margaritas and have some decent mexican- it is on clark and buckingham.

Have fun!

Jul 05, 2007
Chico in Chicago Area

Wings in Wrigleyville

After searching the board for awhile it seemed that the consensus was Yakzies.

However, while I thought these were fine wings, I figure there have to be better in one of the top sports bar districts in the world!

I fondly remember buffalo joes from my mid-90s NU days and was hoping I could find something in that realm near home. Super hot is my favorite....no teriyaki boy here!

Thanks!!

chico

PS: Going to Schwa next week and will weigh in....

Jun 22, 2007
Chico in Chicago Area

Il Mulino

Like others, I can only report that the Il Mulino in NYC is easily the most expensive italian restaurant in the country. Yes, you have enough leftovers for another decadent, garlic-fueled meal, but most 'Hounds are very very mixed on this restaurant.

If you do not suffer from frequent sticker shock- give it a try and report back. One bonus note: Ask for the price on specials to avoid (or at least be prepared for) $60 entrees.

Chico

May 16, 2007
Chico in Chicago Area

Chicago Chop House

Thanks for the review!

May 16, 2007
Chico in Chicago Area

Gibson's Last Night (Long)

I was actually a NU student when Pete Millers opened so have spent plenty of night eating burgers in the pool room and whenever there was a special occaision, steak in the dining room. Do they still have bacon in their cream spinach? yum!

Apr 24, 2007
Chico in Chicago Area

Gibson's Last Night (Long)

Wow, that sounds pretty poor. I don't mind gruff service (you know, like at Lugers where they start off snarling at you and then end up joking with you) but rude service is unacceptable.

Apr 24, 2007
Chico in Chicago Area

Gibson's Last Night (Long)

I recently moved to town and have been keeping an eye on the steak debates on the board. When I was previously living in the Chicago area (Evanston) I frequented Morton's and have never been to Gibson's, the Chop House, or Gene and Georgetti, so I decided to tackle the one that has peaked my interest for many years now with its mixed reviews and "power" atmosphere. A note: I love steak and my favorite dinner could be a Strip (or occasionally a rib eye or porterhouse) medium rare with a nice salty char, shrimp cocktail, creamed spinach, and a scotch or martini, and have no problems visiting steakhouses once a week to get my fill. Anyway- hoping to find a place I would be delighted to frequent somewhat often I called and secured a last minute reservation at Gibson's.

When I called they stressed the importance of arriving on time since they would only hold the table for 15 minutes. Lo and behold, as is par for the course I have read, we walked into a 20 minute wait at the bar where the bar-back was much more helpful than the bartender.

I don't know if this is the case in restaurants in this area, but I felt pandered to as if I wasn't that important all night. Be it the cold shoulder from the bartender who stood there talking to his buddy while I waited to order drinks, to the long-winded schpeil by the server (as if I were at a Fridays,) to the grotesque patronizing smile by the server when we asked to have some food wrapped up, to being seated in the narrow back room (seemingly Siberia)- the overall tone was not overly hospitable and made me feel like a tourist.

On to the food- starters of shrimp cocktail and spicy lobster cocktail were right on the ball. Good portion sizes, proper snap to the shrimp and consistency of the Lobster. House salads were a nice treat since back home absolutely nothing comes free at a steak house.

Large 19oz strip was cooked perfectly and had a decent char. Needed some salt but overall was a very good steak. Other entrees at the table included the pork chop- which was tasty but perhaps a bit over-seasoned, and the salmon that was well received- a nice surprise. Sides were cream spinach- which I found to be overly creamy to a fault, and mushrooms which were too vinegary and disappointing. Maybe they can be salvaged in an omelet.

All in all, the food was very good with the exception of the sides, and I hope to return but will certainly make visits to the Chop House and G&G (as well as Morton's) in order to find a steakhouse more to my liking. I ate at N9ne in Vegas and was pleasantly surprised, and I have never had a good steak at David Burke & Donatella in NYC. Perhaps these were anomalies?

Thanks for reading,

Chico

Apr 24, 2007
Chico in Chicago Area

New Hound in Town- Wrigleyville

Folks,

Started a new job a few weeks ago and am living east of Clark in between Belmont and Addison. There are so many places in the neighborhood, I would appreciate any recs. I think Mia Francesca is OK and convenient, and everyone recommends El Jardin which I have only tried apps at. Based on hound recs I ordered wings from Yaktzies which I found to be very mediocre.

As a former New Yorker and also former NU grad, I know the food scene and some of the heavy hitters (can't wait to visit Alinea in due time,) but I would like to know which of the neighborhood places are a cut above.

Thanks!!

Chico

Apr 20, 2007
Chico in Chicago Area

Cru vs Eleven Madison Park

Cru is a bit more fine dining, and I prefer it. The new chef (Humm) has brought 11mp back from a boring decline, but it still is a big Danny Meyer room. I think Cru is a better bet for a special occaison for some late-20s folks. Their wine list is rediculous as well, but I thought the food was exceptional.

Mar 21, 2007
Chico in Manhattan

Strip House, Sparks or BLT Prime

It also has a great ribeye so you are all set. Get some creamed spinach too...

Mar 14, 2007
Chico in Manhattan

Morandi, JG, Cru, Craftsteak & More- Musings of Winter Eating

Back in 1998-2000 I really enjoyed Nobu's omakase and would push the chef's to dazzle. In those days the omakase was $60+ (lunch) or $80+ dinner. So I was accustomed to doubling that and daring the chef to send out the best. I rememebr one $150 lunch that was top notch and dinners in that same range. At that time the food was very original and blew me away. Since then I have learned the value of a dollar more :) But I still think that some of the best french dishes I have ever had were some of the hot courses of those omakases.

I was living in Philly when Morimoto opened down there and visited 4-5 times. I tried to like it, sat at tables, the sushi bar, etc... but always felt it didn't come close to Nobu in NYC. Thus I have felt no need to break the bank in nyc at the omakase bar but I'm sure it would be great!

Mar 14, 2007
Chico in Manhattan

Morandi, JG, Cru, Craftsteak & More- Musings of Winter Eating

Just some thoughts from the last few months.....

Craftsteak

Finally made it here. Empty on a Monday night and very uneven still. They tried to rush us to our table (we politely declined, enjoying a drink in the empty bar.) One medium-rare steak (Corn fed Rib for two) came out below rare, the other came out rare (Hawaiian Grass fed strip.) The steaks were good, but not quite as good as my favorite steakhouses such as Pietros, Lugers, Michael Jordans, etc… However, the foie appetizer I had was probably the best foie I have had in this town since a 2005 visit to Per Se. (The foie special was so torched at David Burke a few weeks back I almost sent it back.) Great mixed mushrooms too. All in all, I was happy to go and would gladly return for the roasted foie if it wasn’t so remote. Also, steaks at this place have skyrocketed through the old $40 ceiling. Most are above $50 which gets pricey with expensive sides ($22 for the shrooms,) etc…. Save your money. Or go before it closes and moves back to Vegas.

Jean Georges

Was taken here for my birthday- it was my first time and my choice of where to go. I had the seasonal tasting menu and my fiancé enjoyed the traditional. I had a light scallop ribbons starter which was a bit boring but from that point on all of the dishes were quite terrific. Balanced, tasty and properly portioned. All in all it was a solid meal. Didn’t wow me as much as a Per Se, or a high ticket Nobu Omakase, but it was very good. Cheese for dessert was a bad call. My problem with JG is I didn’t feel special at all. And I feel that at 4 stars, it should make me feel good. Per Se gets that right, and so does Le Bernadin. And so does..

Cru

I went here in December and thought it was incredible. The food was adventurous but nailed, the service was perfect, and the experience as a whole was better than JG. Our server brought out a few extra courses (a beautiful egg dish, a small suckling pg dish, etc..) for us based upon things we indicated we would have liked from the seasonal menu if it they were available a la carte. We felt special. And as noted, if you like wine, you will freak out.

Momofukus

Finally made it to these gems. I don’t know what all the mixed posts have been about, but I guess if you don’t like salty, tasty, umani-like things, this is not your place. From the chicken wings, steamers, and mackerel to the uni, sweetbreads, and baby brussel sprouts almost everything was perfect. The porchetta could have been too much, or maybe I just need to go back with more people. Service was friendlier that I would have imagined in such small and popular places. Can’t wait to go back….hopefully tomorrow.

Mai House

Made a rare trip deep into Tribeca recently. Was surprised to find it half empty on a Thursday. Despite being out of a few of the specials (thanks for telling them to us, snooty server) we found some dishes to our liking. Great salt and pepper batter on the cuttlefish nuggets (thanks bruni) and a lamb chop special which was equal parts sweet and smoky. I liked this better than Bao111 and would return but not so soon.

Morandi

I concur with what most people have been saying. Nice room, good scene, very McNally feeling. However, the food is just ok. Burratta cheese was very creamy, fried artichokes were amazing, and the green salad was very fresh and tasty. My veal special was pretty good, and the risotto was very good (blueberries were an interesting touch.) However, I felt I was lucky and chose well. With a small menu, I don’t think I will return, unless it is 4pm and I am ready to drink some wine and eat fried artichokes. This is a good place to take people who like feeling like they are part of something….but there is much better Italian food to be had….and I think Morandi feels just a bit too contrived and 2 years too late.

Thanks for reading!

Next Up:

Nobu, Big Pig Gig, Hearth, Momofuku, Bon Chon

chico

Mar 13, 2007
Chico in Manhattan

RUB

I love RUB and think their beans, onion straws, and new smoked bacon pieces are awesome.

Usally the ribs are easily the best I have had in NYC (never been to Daisy Maes) but every once in awhile the spareribs are inferior to their baby backs.

chico

Mar 12, 2007
Chico in Manhattan

Megu, Nobu 57 or Koi?

Nobu 57 is great+
Megu Midtown is good, very good if you get the kobe.
Koi is not in this league at all, except for maybe price

Feb 27, 2007
Chico in Manhattan

Need Advice for Fall Rehearsal Party- Mag Mile/ River North

I am looking for a good idea for a large (100+) group, that will be fun and casual, but have local flavor and character. Ideally I would like a private room, or to take over a place, but on a Friday night that might be tough.

Thank you in advance for any suggestions- I really appreciate it.

chico

Feb 12, 2007
Chico in Chicago Area

Pizza 33

I like the lasagna pie at 33. When I want a margherita pie I roll the dice with tontonnos....and I would say they hit the spot 1/3 times. I like the saltiness/flavor of their pies but whoever watches the over just can't seem to cook them properly. They are so inconsistent.

Jan 31, 2007
Chico in Manhattan

Schiller's

Mac'n'cheese!

Jan 19, 2007
Chico in Manhattan

Zarela's - anyone been lately?

I like the snapper hash app and the cauliflower side. Two pretty different dishes for a mexican place.

In a town with few good mexican places, this is in the top tier.

Jan 17, 2007
Chico in Manhattan

BLT Steak or The Post House

Give BLT a shot- it is definitely a new style of Anti-Luger. And is probably my favorite of the BLT "Empire."

Post House I haven't been to in ages...I seem to remember it being very well rounded in an old-school way but don't recall how the steaks stack up.

chico

Jan 11, 2007
Chico in Manhattan

Downhill Alert: Rare on 37th & Lex

Poor all around experience tonight.

Service that seemed to not want to accomodate us and made us feel that they (he) were doing us a favor. Tuna burger raw, medium burger scorched, salad missing dressing. No bill adjustment when alerted.

I have always given this place the benefit of the doubt for a decent big burger and fries but I think this was the last time.

Beware!

chico

Jan 10, 2007
Chico in Manhattan

Restaurant Gordon Ramsay (long)

Great review! Thanks!

Dec 11, 2006
Chico in Manhattan